United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Arnold, a state prisoner, petitions for a writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Doc. 14. On Arnold's
motion shortly after counsel appeared on his behalf, the
court stayed the case to allow him to obtain the contents of
a newly discovered police file. Doc. 17. After receiving and
reviewing the file, Arnold voluntarily dismissed two claims,
and the stay was lifted. Doc. 19. The remaining claims assert
that Arnold's attorneys were ineffective in several
respects, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, and that key
evidence at trial was the fruit of an arrest made without
probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Doc. 14
at 8-9. The habeas petition is denied, and a certificate of
appealability will not issue.
federal habeas court presumes that the state courts'
factual findings are correct unless they are rebutted by
clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. §
2254(e)(1); Jean-Paul v. Douma, 809 F.3d 354, 360
(7th Cir. 2015) (“A state court's factual finding
is unreasonable only if it ignores the clear and convincing
weight of the evidence.”) (internal quotation marks
omitted); Coleman v. Hardy, 690 F.3d 811, 815 (7th
Cir. 2012) (“We give great deference to state court
factual findings. After AEDPA, we are required to presume a
state court's account of the facts correct, and the
petitioner has the burden of rebutting the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence.”)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The state trial
court's 2011 dismissal of Arnold's post-conviction
petitions was the state courts' final word on the merits
of Arnold's ineffective assistance claims. Doc. 30-16 at
115-20. The Appellate Court of Illinois was the last state
court to address the merits of Arnold's Fourth Amendment
claim, People v. Arnold, 812 N.E.2d 696 ( Ill. App.
2004) (reproduced at Doc. 30-1), and also the last to have
described the facts and procedural history of the case,
ibid.; People v. Arnold, 2013 IL App (1st)
112039-U, 2013 WL 4106449 ( Ill. App. Aug. 13, 2013)
(reproduced at Doc. 30-7). The following sets forth the facts
as the state courts described them and as the transcripts
reflect, as well as the procedural background of the state
criminal and post-conviction proceedings.
evening of April 2, 2001, Karen Goodwin was found shot to
death in a car in a parking lot at 1350 West 14th Street in
Chicago. 812 N.E.2d at 698. Her murder remained unsolved
months later when, on July 26, Detective James Sanchez
arrested Tony Robinson in connection with an unrelated
murder, and Robinson told Sanchez that he knew who killed
Goodwin. Id. at 699; Doc. 30-17 at 81-84. Robinson
was interviewed that day by Sanchez, and then several more
times over the following days by other detectives, including
Gregory Swiderek and William Sorengen. 812 N.E.2d at 698-700;
Doc. 30-17 at 48, 81-82.
Robinson identified three men as Goodwin's attackers:
Gregory Brown (also known as “Ya-Ya”), Antoine
Truitt (also known as “Twan”), and a person he
knew only as “Boo” (later identified as Maurice
Brown, Gregory's brother). 812 N.E.2d at 698-99; Doc.
30-17 at 48, 57, 83-84; Doc. 30-18 at 63-64. (The court will
refer to Gregory Brown as “Brown” and Maurice
Brown as “Boo.”) Robinson described the night
Goodwin died as follows.
was standing with Brown in the lobby of 1410 West 14th Street
when they saw a blue Chevy drive by. 812 N.E.2d at 698. They
recognized the car as belonging to Maurice Lebon (also known
as “Reese”), who owed Brown money. Id.
at 698-99; Doc. 30-17 at 37-38; Doc. 30-18 at 62. Brown
suggested to Robinson that they “get” Lebon-that
is, shoot him-but Robinson declined. 812 N.E.2d at 698-99.
Robinson and Brown went upstairs, where they encountered Boo
and Truitt. Id. at 699. Brown asked Boo and Truitt
if they wanted to “whack” Lebon. Ibid.
Brown, Boo, and Truitt then parted ways with Robinson, who
went to another part of the building to use cocaine.
Ibid.; Doc. 30-17 at 39. About ten minutes later,
Robinson saw Brown, Boo, and Truitt back in the lobby. 812
N.E.2d at 699. All three wore dark clothing and carried guns.
Ibid. Brown's gun was a chrome .25-caliber
semiautomatic pistol. Ibid.
went back upstairs. Ibid. Looking out through a
window, he saw the three men head toward a parking lot just
to the east, near some row houses. Ibid. The blue
Chevy was in the parking lot. Ibid. Robinson watched
Brown approach the parking lot from the south and Boo and
Truitt approach it from the north. Ibid. Then
Robinson heard gunshots. Ibid. Shortly thereafter,
Brown came back and told Robinson, “I just whacked that
n __.” Ibid. Brown added that he had put his
gun in a garbage can by an incinerator. Ibid.
Robinson later learned that it was Goodwin, not Lebon, who
was killed inside the Chevy. Ibid.
account was consistent with several details that the
police's own investigation had turned up: Robinson
correctly described the car and the parking lot in which
Goodwin's body was found; forensic analysis corroborated
his assertion that there were three assailants, each with a
gun, one of which was a .25; eyewitnesses who saw the
attackers flee agreed that they wore dark clothing; and the
.25 used in the shooting was, in fact, discovered in a nearby
trash can. Doc. 30-17 at 43-46. But the detectives were
skeptical that Robinson was telling the whole truth, in part
because Truitt was dead (having been shot to death weeks
after Goodwin's murder) by the time Robinson spoke to
Sanchez, and in part because Sanchez waffled over the
shooters' identities after expressing fear that his
family would be harmed if he identified them. 812 N.E.2d at
699 & n.2; Doc. 30-17 at 49-50, 52-54, 82.
adhered to versions of this account through several
additional interviews between July 26 and 29, but he
continued to tell detectives that he feared gang retaliation
and was not being “entirely truthful.” 812 N.E.2d
at 699-700. Then, in a July 30 interview with Swiderek and
Sorengen, Robinson changed a crucial detail: he said that
Arnold, not Truitt, was the third shooter. Id. at
699; Doc. 30-17 at 41. Robinson was initially reluctant to
name Arnold, he explained, “because he knew [Arnold]
was a ‘general' in the New Breed Street
gang.” 812 N.E.2d at 699; see also Doc. 30-17
at 41. Robinson maintained that the rest of his account was
truthful. 812 N.E.2d at 699; Doc. 30-17 at 42.
new version was more convincing to the detectives. After
Robinson implicated Arnold, police showed Robinson a
photographic lineup, from which he identified Brown, Boo, and
Arnold as the shooters. 812 N.E.2d at 699. Based on this
identification and without first obtaining a warrant, the
police arrested Arnold at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.
was taken to the police station and held there for several
hours. Doc. 30-17 at 33. Sanchez was the first officer to
interview him, at approximately 8:00 p.m. that evening.
Id. at 106. The interview was not transcribed, and
only Sanchez and Arnold were present, though it is undisputed
that Sanchez read Arnold his Miranda rights.
Id. at 106-07, 110; Doc. 30-18 at 66-67. According
to Sanchez, that first interview lasted about twenty minutes,
during which time Arnold orally confessed to participating in
the Goodwin shooting along with Brown and a third individual,
Cornelius Robinson (also known as “Pig”). Doc.
30-17 at 107; Doc 30-18 at 52. (To avoid confusion with Tony
Robinson, the court will refer to Cornelius Robinson as
“Pig.”) Later that evening, around 10:00 p.m.,
assistant state's attorney Mari Rose McManus joined the
interview, and Arnold repeated his oral confession to her and
Sanchez. Doc. 30-17 at 108-09; Doc. 30-18 at 141. The next
afternoon, July 31, two other detectives, George Vasilopoulos
and John Pelligrini, re-read Arnold his Miranda
rights, and again Arnold orally confessed. Doc. 30-17 at
115-16. Finally, at 11:30 p.m. on July 31, McManus and
Pelligrini re-Mirandized and re-interviewed Arnold, who again
confessed; this time, McManus and Pelligrini recorded
Arnold's confession in a handwritten statement, which he
signed. Id. at 122-25.
written confession was similar to Robinson's account. In
it, Arnold described meeting Brown, who was looking for Lebon
because Lebon owed him money. Doc. 30-18 at 155. Arnold
described Lebon's blue Chevy passing, and said Brown
stated that he was “going to kill this n__ .”
Id. at 156. Arnold said there were three
shooters-himself, Brown, and Pig- each with his own gun.
Id. at 155-57. Arnold said that he approached the
parked car from one direction with Pig, with both firing
shots at the car, while Brown approached from another
direction, firing directly into the passenger seat.
Id. at 157-58. Arnold, Brown, and Pig then went to a
nearby playground, where Brown stashed his gun-“a
smaller caliber gun, a 22 or a 25”-in a garbage can.
Id. at 158. Arnold and Brown then returned to 1410
West 14th Street. Id. at 159. The written statement
acknowledges that Arnold heard and waived his
Miranda rights, was treated well in custody, and
gave the statement voluntarily. Id. at 154, 159-60.
trial, Arnold moved to suppress his confessions as the
product of an unlawful arrest without probable cause. Doc.
30-14 at 56-57. At the hearing, the prosecution relied on
Robinson's statement implicating Arnold in the Goodwin
shooting as one basis for probable cause, and also relied on
the statement of another arrestee, Marcus Hunter, who said he
saw Arnold shoot Truitt (whom Robinson had initially
identified as one of the three attackers) three weeks after
Goodwin's murder. Doc. 30-17 at 94-97. The prosecution
introduced Robinson's statements through Detective
Swiderek, who described his interviews with Robinson on July
27 (when Robinson implicated Truitt in Goodwin's murder)
and on July 30 (when he implicated Arnold). Id. at
36-43. The prosecution argued that details of Robinson's
statements were corroborated by the detectives' own
investigation, giving rise to probable cause. Id. at
counsel, Gina Piemonte, attacked Robinson's credibility,
noting that he was in custody on suspicion of a different
murder; that he changed his story about Goodwin's murder
several times, most notably on the crucial detail of whether
Truitt or Arnold was involved; and that he might himself have
been involved in that murder. Id. at 97-99. Piemonte
also argued that Hunter, too, was not a credible enough
informant for his accusation to supply probable cause.
Id. at 99-101. The judge denied the motion to
suppress, finding “ample, overwhelming” probable
cause to believe that Arnold was involved in Goodwin's
murder. Id. at 101-02. The judge also concluded that
police independently “may have had probable
cause” to believe Arnold shot Truitt, even though they
did not arrest Arnold right away after interviewing Hunter.
Id. at 102.
alternative, Arnold moved to suppress his confessions on the
ground that they had been coerced with threats of violence.
Doc. 30-14 at 58-60. The detectives denied his allegations.
Doc. 30-17 at 107-08, 117, 124. Because the interviews were
not recorded, it was Arnold's word against the
detectives', and the judge, finding that Arnold's
testimony was not credible and that the confessions were
voluntary, denied the motion. Id. at 135.
before trial, Arnold moved in limine to bar any
evidence of his prior bad acts or alleged gang affiliations.
Doc. 30-14 at 68-69. The motion argued that mentioning
Robinson's assertion that Arnold was a high-ranking gang
member “would be highly prejudicial” and that
Arnold's alleged gang membership had “no probative
value to the case.” Id. at 68. The judge
granted the motion. Doc. 30-18 at 5.
Trial and Sentencing
opted for a bench trial. Id. at 4. The judge who
presided, Colleen McSweeney-Moore, was the same judge who
conducted the suppression hearings and ruled on the ...